Welcome back to the 2019 school year. Hopefully everyone has had a chance to have a break and some down time from the busy school schedule during term time. Many schools will be starting back in the next week or so. Getting back to the school routine can be a challenge. As I’ve mentioned before change is tricky for everyone, but there are lots of things you as parents can do to help your child. Here are my top tips for making the transition back to school an easy one.
A few days before school starts:
Start getting everyone back into their usual sleep routines. This one can be tricky with the long days we are experiencing but try shifting in small increments of 15 minutes each day so that at least once school starts your child will be able to have a reasonable amount of sleep.
Discuss what the getting ready for school routines in the morning and at night will look like. Ask your children to share their ideas. It may be helpful to start with to write the steps down and have them somewhere central for children and adults to refer to. An evening and a morning routine will ensure that there is time get everything done.
Check in with school websites and or re read email or paper communications from school on first day and week routines.
Talk positively about the upcoming school year and the fun and interesting learning that will occur.
To support children with specific concerns:
If your child has very specific learning or behaviour needs or has experienced some big life changes during the break, I recommend you contact your child’s school and let them know what the situation is. If you don’t know who the teacher is for 2019 you can always contact someone on the leadership team who can pass the information on to the correct person.
If your child is attending a new school or is anxious about starting back it may be helpful to go for a visit to the school and walk around checking out the playing fields and equipment as well as the layout of the buildings before school starts.
Throughout the school year but especially in January and early February:
Once school has started make sure you look for any opportunity to attend parent evenings, school picnics and so on. Many schools provide a range of options and while it’s not necessary to attend all your child’s education will be all the richer for your participation and interest in what they are doing at school.
The things I’ve listed seem simple but as is often the case if you get the basics right it’s possible to avoid needing to manage more difficult situations.
Robyn Stead, Child Psychologist and Educator, lives and works in central Auckland.